EMERALD STALWARTS: Errol and Jo Rosenblatt have a long history with Emerald State High School.
EMERALD STALWARTS: Errol and Jo Rosenblatt have a long history with Emerald State High School. Contributed

Teacher recalls incredible journey

JO ROSENBLATT has many fond memories of her time in Emerald and at Emerald State High School.

As the school prepares to celebrate its 50th Jubilee, Mrs Rosenblatt recalled her long and varied association with Emerald's first high school.

"My family arrived in Emerald in 1964,” Mrs Rosenblatt said. "I was a student at primary school at the old Emerald State School and I did Year 8 at the old Emerald State School because it was a high top.

"I was at the new school in the new year in 1969 as a Year 9 student. I continued and did Year 9, 10, 11 and 12 at Emerald High.

"I was school captain in 1972 and then I went off to teacher's college. In those days, teacher's college was three years.”

Mrs Rosenblatt spent her first year teaching on Thursday Island, which she said was a "bit of a shock to the system” and then returned to Emerald to teach after marrying Errol, a fellow teacher and Emerald resident.

"The two of us stayed at Emerald High for the next 30 odd years until both of us retired and left to find other things to do,” Mrs Rosenblatt said.

"He (Errol) was the maths head of department for many, many, many years and I got promoted very early on in the piece and was what we called a senior mistress and then that role got converted to deputy principal. So I stayed deputy principal for 28 odd years.”

Mrs Rosenblatt said she saw a lot of "incredible changes” during her time at Emerald State High School.

At one stage, the school had around 900 students, due to an influx of students from neighbouring mining towns.

"We had students coming from the mining centres being bused into the high school, you know, before Capella High School was built, before Blackwater High School was built, before the schools up (in) Moranbah and that were all built,” she said.

"The buildings expanded and got bigger and then our enrolments dropped. Our enrolments dropped when Capella High School and all those schools got developed and then there was a big push in the Emerald community to have a Catholic high school.

"Marist was born out of that so our enrolments dropped when Marist opened.”

Mrs Rosenblatt said her time at Emerald State High School had been an "incredible experience”.

"I loved that school. It was an incredible part of my life.

"My two children did all their schooling at Emerald High School, so they were both there with both Errol and I,” she said.

The former deputy principal said she and Errol were looking forward to "coming home” for the Jubilee celebrations.

"I'm looking forward to catching up with a lot of people and catching up with a lot of friends - both school friends and teachers and ex-students,” Mrs Rosenblatt said.

"Hopefully it will be a good night on the Friday night and then I believe we're having an open day on the Saturday at the school.”

Having lived in Emerald until 15 months ago, Mrs Rosenblatt said she had had an "incredible journey” at Emerald State High School.

"We were one of the first schools in Queensland to allow our female students to wear shorts as part of their sports' uniform. Then it sort of became part of the general uniform,” she said.

"That was one thing that we were sort of a bit innovative about.

"I suppose over the years, we've been very innovative. We've had fantastic staff - you get lots of young staff who come out country high schools and they're full of beans and they've got great ideas and they're really enthusiastic.

"It's a great school. I think it's very important to have some sort of pride in the traditions that were established very early on in the piece.”


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